Chinese demand boosts L’Oreal cosmetics sales

WORLD NEWS


Strong Chinese demand for luxury skin creams helped Lancome owner L’Oreal beat sales forecasts in the fourth quarter, as did a pick-up in its lagging mass market division.

Like rivals including U.S.-based Estee Lauder, the French maker of Maybelline and Urban Decay make-up has thrived on strong demand from Chinese shoppers in recent years, especially for its higher-end products.

Sales of L’Oreal’s top-flight brands exceeded analyst expectations in the last three months of the year thanks to this market, despite cooling economic growth in China, and fears over a Washington-Beijing trade war.

Some heavy-hitters in the luxury fashion industry, like LVMH‘s Louis Vuitton, have also reported encouraging momentum in Asia. At L’Oreal Asia Pacific overtook North America as its biggest region last year.

But L’Oreal, which is due to detail its results at a news conference on Friday, also faces a challenge to keep improving revenue growth in other areas, including its consumer products unit, home to brands like Garnier shampoo.

Sales rose 2.8 percent in that division on a like-for-like basis in the fourth quarter, which strips out currency effects and acquisitions, up from 2.3 percent a quarter earlier.

That helped boost overall sales at the firm, up 7.7 percent like-for-like and head of forecasts for a 6.4 percent rise, and which came in at 7.1 billion euros ($8.1 billion).



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